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Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of acute diverticulitis in adults

John H Pemberton, MD
Section Editor
J Thomas Lamont, MD
Deputy Editor
Shilpa Grover, MD, MPH, AGAF


Approximately 4 percent of patients with diverticulosis develop acute diverticulitis (algorithm 1) [1,2]. Diverticulitis results from a microscopic or macroscopic perforation of a diverticulum due to diverticular inflammation and focal necrosis.

This topic will review the clinical manifestations and diagnosis of acute diverticulitis. The epidemiology of diverticulosis, diverticular disease, and diverticular bleeding and the management of acute diverticulitis and diverticular bleeding are discussed in detail, separately. (See "Colonic diverticulosis and diverticular disease: Epidemiology, risk factors, and pathogenesis" and "Acute colonic diverticulitis: Medical management" and "Acute diverticulitis complicated by fistula formation" and "Colonic diverticular bleeding".)


A diverticulum is a sac-like protrusion of the colonic wall.

Diverticulosis merely describes the presence of diverticula.

Acute diverticulitis is defined as inflammation, generally considered to be due to microperforation of a diverticulum.

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Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: Apr 19, 2017.
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